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|Welcome to TSLMail #130 - Friday, May 28, 2004||
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Eagle-eyed TSL readers -- okay, you don't have to be that alert to see it -- have noticed that the pages on TechSideline.com are undergoing a design change. The new format has been previewed in the latest TSL Pass articles, and can be seen on the Men's Hoops, Women's Hoops, and Football Pages as well, plus the last News and Notes update that we did.
You'll notice that the new format is consistent from page to page, instead of our free articles, TSL Pass articles, sports home pages, etc. all having different layouts. The biggest change is the inclusion of our handy little "nav links" at the top of each page, instead of just being present on the home page.
The nav links are the little buttons near the top of the page that say Forums, News and Notes, Links, Hokie News, etc. We have had them on our home page for a while, but now they're making their way into all of TSL's subpages and even onto the message boards.
There's an old saying in Web design that your site visitor should never be more than three clicks away from any page on your site, and the nav links will go a long way towards making TSL compliant with that little nugget of advice.
The nav links are also contained in one file that is referenced from each TSL page, so they're easily updated to reflect the changing nature of the web site.
In the coming weeks, we'll be working the new format into all TSL pages, so look for it. The changes are evolutionary, not revolutionary, but we think that they'll go a long way towards improving navigation on the site and making it easier for you to use.
While we're on the topic of the TSL site design, here are some hidden gems on the site that you may or may not be aware of:
Yep, I'm taking a vacation this week, heading to the beach for seven days of R&R and battery recharging. As much as I love hanging out on the site all day, talking Hokie sports, even a humble webmaster has to take some time off.
Going to the beach reminds me of when I went last year at about the same time. Look, I know I said in an article just a couple of weeks back that I didn't want to relive the ACC expansion saga, but I can't help but recall last year at this time, when I went to the beach at the height of expansion.
At this time last year -- late May, 2003 -- things were looking as grim as they would get for the Big East. The ACC had voted on May 16th to invite Miami, Boston College, and Syracuse into the league. The Big East yearly meetings in Ponte Vedra Beach Florida followed shortly thereafter and produced nothing of substance, only a tirade by Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese.
Everyone was counting the Canes, Orange, and Eagles as gone, and were discussing what the Big East was going to do to survive. Dave Gavitt had already proposed his new "eight-and-eight" Big East, a huge 16-team league consisting of one 8-team division that played D1-A football and another division that didn't. The names Louisville, Central Florida, DePaul, Marquette, Dayton and Xavier were being thrown around as Big East expansion targets.
Having decided to invite the three Big East teams, the ACC was planning site visits as required by the ACC by-laws, with Miami scheduled first. Meanwhile, the Raleigh News and Observer broke the story that in 1998, Tranghese, Syracuse AD Jake Crouthamel, and Miami AD Paul Dee had met with ACC officials and discussed a possible football merger between the two leagues.
Former North Carolina State athletics director Les Robinson said in the story that he was at a secret meeting in Atlanta in 1998 in which Tranghese and ACC Commissioner John Swofford led a discussion about Miami, Syracuse and Boston College possibly leaving the Big East to make the ACC a 12-school league.
"It was a fact-finding, visionary kind of meeting, a testing-of-the-waters kind of thing," Robinson said. "Tranghese, maybe looking to stay one step ahead of the posse, was talking about the Big East becoming an all-basketball conference."
According to Robinson, back in 1998 Tranghese was going to foist -- get this -- Miami, BC, and Syracuse off on the ACC Even the BE's own commish, who was bashing the ACC every chance he had, looked like a traitor.
There was one tiny ray of hope, but that was being largely ignored. Newspaper articles were appearing suggesting that Virginia Governor Mark Warner was pressuring the University of Virginia to support expansion only if it included VT. That was largely dismissed as political posturing, with no one knowing at the time the role Warner would play. It's a role that is widely debated today -- did UVa president John Casteen back VT because of pressure from Warner, or did he just use the "Warner pressure" as political cover for a pro-VT stance he had had all along? Whatever the truth is, no one saw it being a big factor in mid-late May of 2003.
It was in this environment that I embarked on vacation. And while I was on vacation, things finally started turning in the Big East's favor. As the ACC conducted site visits to Miami, SU, and BC, the other schools in the Big East filed suit against the ACC. The lawsuit wasn't perceived as something that was going to stop ACC expansion, but at least the Big East was doing something, instead of just talking.
Upon my arrival back home from vacation, more important and substantial things started to happen. Namely, the ACC started holding conference calls ... and failing to come to any sort of resolution. Eventually, things would collapse, and the stalemate would be broken by the ACC dropping Syracuse from consideration and inviting VT into the conference, instead.
But when I went on vacation last year, boy it looked bad for the Hokies, and it was in my mind all weekend, messing up my good time at the beach. This year, no such obstacles.
Have a fun week. There will be no TSLMail and no TechSideline.com updates next week, but I have arranged to have Hokie News updates every day, and recruiting analyst Chris Horne will be working most of next week, as well. The message boards will be monitored, so don't get any funny ideas about misbehavin'.
Enjoy yourself, and we'll see you in about ten days!
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|TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week|
Visionaries? I Beg to Disagree
A Gym Rat's Notebook #19: ACC Recruiting Rankings
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